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Questions tagged [key]

For questions about key signatures, scales, modes and similar topics. Most questions should also be tagged with "theory".

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How does one establish a key? What are the criteria?

I am reading 'Guide to the Practical Study of Harmony' by Tchaikovsky. On page 63, he says to pass from one key into another it is not sufficient merely to employ a number of chords not belonging ...
2
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1answer
252 views

Are all keys created equal?

Often when I have been composing, I have noticed a peculiar phenomenon. Sometimes I can't think of a new way to tweak my song and it helps to change the key. I get new ideas and can then switch back ...
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3answers
202 views

How do I figure out the tonality of a piece with a chord that doesn't fit?

The piece in question is "The Flyest" - O.T. Genasis Initially I thought it was the 4th mode of Fm, but I'm not sure. The chords are Bbm, C and Gb. The presence of the Gb major chord puzzles me and ...
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3answers
144 views

Effect of keys on modern performances

I understand that traditionally, certain "moods" are associated with certain keys. I further understand that this is mainly due to the way keyboards were tuned during the classical era, but that now, ...
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4answers
437 views

Is there a pattern behind the numbers of sharp keys in chromatic scale

Here are the keys of the chromatic scale containing 12 pitches: | C | C# | D | D# | E | F | F# | G | G# | A | A# | B | |---+----+---+----+---+---+----+---+----+---+----+----+ | 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | ...
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3answers
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Guitar chord progression and key conundrum

I have a guitar chord progression: F# sus2, C# minor, B minor, E sus2. Over this I have a nice melody played within the c# pentatonic (starting at fret9). I really like what I have so far and wish to ...
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5answers
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Why does a major minor modulation with the same root work (e.g. C to Cm) [duplicate]

There are very few chord changes I cannot rationalize and fit into some mode of a major scale. One of these is a major minor change with the same root (e.g. C to Cm). The C chord has c, e, and g ...
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1answer
82 views

Key signature in tab books

I have a few tab books that also have regular music notation. I go through them and write the note names above the notes and try and make some sense of it. Then I take the notes that are emphesised ...
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4answers
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What Happens To The Melody When Played In A Different Key

What happens to notation (e.g. a melody line) when a tune is played in a different key than the one it was written in? Do the notes alter in any way or do they always stay the same as originally ...
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3answers
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What key fits with the chords Em7, F#m7, and B7#5?

I'm trying to find some good places to start an electric guitar solo for the song Cosmic Girl by Jamiroquai . The solo will go over the verse progression. The verse progression seems to be some sort ...
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2answers
153 views

Extended chords in keys

I understand the most popular & first-learnt chords & how to associate them with the keys they belong to. I'm looking at other chord types now such as Am6. I believe that Am6 can only go ...
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4answers
315 views

How exactly tell the root of a song over a defined scale on ambiguous harmonic context?

I play a song in either C major key or A minor key. Usually I determine the root (C or A) taking into account clues like: The happy or sad feel of it all The first chord (C or Am) Stereotypical ...
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1answer
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How are keys in the circle of fifths related?

I know this seems like a basic question, and in the traditional sense, I actually know how they are related. Though, while reading a book titled 'Harmony for Computer Musicians', I've come across a ...
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3answers
575 views

Colour of keys in the era of equal-temperament

As I understand it, the great bulk of music from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras are at least these days performed on equal temperament instruments. And yet there is still a great deal of ...
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9answers
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Is it harder to play in a key with more flats or sharps?

This is a very naive question, but I tend to perceive a song with a key signature that has more flats or sharps to be more difficult than the same song written in a key with fewer flats or sharps. ...
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4answers
1k views

How to find the key of a song without a pitch reference?

For instance, if I play the middle C or any note before a song starts, I can instantly guess the key of the song(I think this is known as RP - relative pitch). Another trick I've used is finding out ...
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3answers
784 views

Definition of minor key

Minor key music uses the harmonic minor scale as the basis for its harmony and the melodic minor scale for the melody. If the music uses nothing but the natural minor scale it IS NOT in a minor ...
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6answers
713 views

The teaching of scales, chords and keys

A question for the music educators out there. What are we doing wrong that is causing so many young musicians to ask so many questions based on the misapprehension that only certain notes and certain ...
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4answers
2k views

How can you find the key of a song by ear?

If you don't have the music notation available, how can you determine what key a song is in by just listening? Must one have perfect pitch to do this or is there an easy way or a trick that can help ...
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9answers
7k views

What key could the progression Cm - G - Dm - Am be in?

I'm working on a song (my first ever actually) and I love the chord sequence: Cm - G - Dm - Am I started off working in C-Major, but borrowed Cm from the parallel minor key C-Minor. But really, in ...
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0answers
338 views

How did the notes of the Western musical scale get their letter names? [duplicate]

The first thing a brand-new piano student learns is the name, and location on the keyboard, of "middle C". I've always wondered, why is that note called "middle C" rather than, say, "middle A"? To ...
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6answers
909 views

What are some effective ways to use a key change during a song?

In my own songwriting, I might change keys to reinforce a change in the direction of the lyrics. For example if the first two verses are first person but the last verse is 3rd person, I might ...
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4answers
490 views

How can different compositions use C Major?

Pardon what I know is an embarrassing question - I am at the very basics of learning music theory. If a scale such as C Major is an exact pattern of intervals, how can multiple songs be composed with ...
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2answers
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C major being dramatic like C minor

Here C major is being very dramatic. Usually C major is peaceful or joyful no matter what else is going on. In fact it can make an otherwise dramatic key sound happy. The drama of this piece is as if ...
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3answers
23k views

How to transition between chord progressions of two songs in different keys?

I play mostly in a church band setup, focused around chords. Often they'll be an interlude between songs where someone might come and share a prayer or bible reading and I've noticed some people are ...
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2answers
20k views

key changing in a song?

how do i change in keys? All by my self - was in the key in F major and transition to C# minor in the middle of the solo? i notice that "all by my self" and "never going to fall in love again" by ...
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2answers
135 views

Are there rules that determine whether a chord belongs to a particular key?

Suppose I have a chord such as FAC. How do I know whether the notes belong to C (Fa La Do') or F (Do Mi Sol) or perhaps another key? Do music theorists have theories for how a key gets established? ...
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4answers
2k views

What keys contain both E and Am and is there an easy trick to determine this?

By 'keys contain' I mean in the normal rules of choosing what chords 'fit' within a given key, since of course you can put just about any chord anywhere if you try hard enough! Is there a shortcut ...
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6answers
660 views

V chord becoming 7th? minor key [duplicate]

Im analyzing a song that is in the key of e minor. And the chords for the song are: Em B7 Am Now, I'm no expert but from my theory I learnt a while back for a minor key the chords are: Minor- dim -...
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10answers
22k views

When is a piece in A minor versus C major?

When would you say a piece, or a movement in a symphony, is in A minor versus C major? They both use the same notes on the scale... what would indicate that the piece is in A minor? Let's take an ...
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7answers
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Chord progression if the chords are not part of the scale?

I've been learning about harmony, and the harmonisation of major scales. I can recognise simple chord progressions, and I try and practice by listening to popular songs. For a major scale, we have:...
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3answers
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Why does the chord progression Dmaj -> Emaj -> Bmaj sound good?

I looked up the chord progressions for all major and minor scale keys, but this combination doesn't match any of them. Why does it work well?
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9answers
15k views

Is Emajor the dominant chord in the key of A minor?

I read somewhere that Emajor is the dominant (V) chord in A minor. Is this correct? If so, why is it not Eminor, since the A minor scale has no sharps or flats in it?
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1answer
555 views

Boogie Woogie in another keys what are the limits?

I'm a pianist and I play boogie woogie very well in C and G. Everyone knows that these are the easiest to play on, but guitarists like E and A and maybe D. I started to learn some riffs in A and E but ...
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3answers
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How to make a chord progress go from the key of C major to the key of A minor?

How do you chord progress go from the key of C major to the key of A minor? I would do it this way: progress to the III chord (Em), change the III chord to a Dominant 7th form (E7), now the E7 chord ...
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7answers
19k views

Why do Major keys contain minor chords?

Looking through each Major Key: At position II, III, VI these are MINOR key signatures? At position VII, this is a DIMINISHED key signature? Looking at the C Major Key as an example, this chord ...
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4answers
8k views

What does it mean for a song to be played in C minor, D, etc?

I like listening to classical music, I noticed that a song may come in many versions (example : Hungarian Dances). I know what majors and minors scales are, but my music theory knowledge ends there. I ...
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5answers
22k views

How come songs in a certain key play notes not in that key

I just started trying to learn about music theory as I'm learning to play the guitar. So as beginner's do I looked up a list of easy songs to play and I start learning away. Since I'm also trying to ...
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3answers
2k views

Determining Key / Key Change / Chords?

I've been playing guitar for about 5 years... I've been slowly trying to teach myself some of the THEORY behind music.. I've just always had trouble really understanding.. When I hear a song, and ...
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4answers
2k views

Full range with white keys only?

This is probably a really stoopid question but.....I'm trying to learn to play a virtual keyboard online(Virtual Piano) but its really hard to use the black keys since you need to press Shift+(another ...
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4answers
2k views

Is a switch to the relative minor still called a modulation?

I am recording a song which is largely written in C major. About halfway through the song, the emphasis changes to A minor, with chord progressions resolving to the Am chord specifically. Is this ...
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5answers
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Why is the choice of key considered so fundamental in Classical music that it often effectively becomes part of the name of the composition? [duplicate]

I often hear references to, e.g., "Bach's Fugue in G Minor," sometimes with a number (something like "Bach's Fugue in G Minor #13"). Why is the key of the piece so important that it becomes part of ...
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3answers
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Is there a minimum of notes and chords i need to determine the key of a song?

Just by curiosity. What is the minimum of notes and chords i need to determine the key of a song?
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4answers
11k views

Identifying the key of a song by ear?

I'm developing a method for students to identify the key of a song by ear. I've seen a lot of videos on YouTube where they say that you should try to identify a common note and that will be your tonic....
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3answers
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What key is correct when guitars are half step down?

I see many charts for praise and worship songs charted in sharp keys (A#, F#) major. One song is charted F# Major. I would think the guitars are tuned a half step down and they are playing like it is ...
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6answers
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If Für Elise is in Am why there is a D# in it?

Für Elise intro starts with E D♯ E D♯, Wikipedia says the key is Am. What scale does it fit? Is it like a blues scale where D♯ is a flat 5? Why D♯ is used in the sheet music? Is it easier to read ...
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4answers
982 views

How to choose a key signature for a song that modulates often?

In jazz, let's say, how would one choose a key signature for writing a lead sheet for a song where keys change every few measures or faster? Is writing the key changes explicitly going to be helpful ...
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1answer
357 views

Why does the first note is the second Bach cello suite(Prelude) sound like C#?

Suite 2 in the Bach suites is in D minor howcome the first note sounds like C# even though its written on the 3rd line(d)?
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1answer
640 views

Are there any rules of thumb for shifting the key signature within a tone net?

[ ... struggling with giving this a better title ] I'm working out the algorithmic bases for generation of a tone-net (tonnetz) in preparation for programming the presentation layer. The problem is ...
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4answers
458 views

How to write music using standard notation / Finding key

I would like to ask a typical question from amateur musician. Most of amateur musicians understand tablature notation and often even some music theory, I personally can read notes but not in all keys (...